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The US government wants to transform nuclear bomb test sites — and six companies have offered to help

With some creative thinking and resolve, we can flip the script on humanity's destructive past.

With some creative thinking and resolve, we can flip the script on humanity's destructive past.

Photo Credit: iStock

In a shining example of turning swords into plowshares, the U.S. government wants to transform old nuclear bomb testing grounds into clean energy powerhouses.

According to CleanTechnica, the Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration are offering up land where nuclear weapons were tested for decades — and solar developers are lining up for a chance to build renewable energy projects on these sites.

This innovative initiative, called Cleanup to Clean Energy, aims to make productive use of contaminated lands that have long sat idle. Six companies have already submitted proposals in response to the government's initial request for information in December.

The NNSA is now taking the next step, considering leasing acreage on the Nevada National Security Site, a former nuke testing location just outside Las Vegas.

"Feedback from the January 16 Community Engagement Round Table, RFI, and the February 13 Information Day will be considered in developing the [Request for Qualifications] that NNSA tentatively will release in March 2024," the DOE stated.

The agency is evaluating input from various stakeholders to ensure the project moves forward responsibly.

Imagine vast stretches of sun-soaked desert, once scarred by nuclear bomb craters, shimmering with rows of solar panels. Not only would these clean energy projects help power the region with renewable electricity, but they would also bring jobs and economic development to Nevada. It's a one-two punch in the fight against atmospheric pollution.

"This solar project makes good use of NNSS land, generates clean energy, and brings jobs and innovation to the state of Nevada," said NNSA Administrator Jill Hruby. "DOE and NNSA are committed to combating climate change not only through our R&D efforts but also through clean energy production on our sites."

The Nevada solar farm is just the beginning.

"DOE has previously released a Draft RFQ pertaining to a Realty Agreement (lease or possibly an easement) for carbon pollution-free electricity projects at the Hanford site," the agency noted.

Similar plans are in the works for ex-nuclear sites in South Carolina and Idaho. Minimal human labor is required to pursue renewable energy projects on these contaminated lands compared to other redevelopment options. It's a safe and sensible way to transform these sites from environmental blight to pollution-fighting might.

With some creative thinking and resolve, we can flip the script on humanity's destructive past and build a cleaner, safer future for our planet and communities.

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